Netanyahu: Iran set back only 6 weeks by nuclear deal

Prime minister says ‘whole world’ knows Tehran is after nukes, final agreement will be the true test of Tehran’s intentions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Cybertech 2014 conference (Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Cybertech 2014 conference (Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

Iran’s interim deal with the international community only set it back six weeks in terms of the time of would take its nuclear program to assemble a bomb, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a speech on Tuesday night.

“Although there are internal disagreements in Iran, there is no dispute in the regime about developing nuclear weapons and the goal of wiping Israel off the map,” he told the crowd at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” he said.

Iran reached the deal in November with the international community on its disputed nuclear drive, which the West suspects has a military goal, notwithstanding Tehran’s protestations to the contrary.

The six-month deal freezes key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, while allowing limited enrichment to continue, in exchange for some economic sanctions relief. It went into effect on January 20.

The next round of international nuclear negotiations with Iran is expected to be held in New York next month, according to officials involved in the planning.

“The whole world knows that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “We will only support an arrangement that ensures the complete dismantling of Iran’s infrastructure and capabilities to build nuclear weapons. We will not let Iran develop the capability to build nuclear weapons. This was and remains Israel’s stance.”

Israel has threatened to attack Iran should it not back off from its alleged pursuit of a military nuclear capability.

Earlier Tuesday, UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran to visit Iran’s Gachin uranium mine for the first time in several years, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. The visit was part of the framework of a separate deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency in November.

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